Monday, June 05, 2006

Imitation is the sincerest form of... discipleship?

Yesterday was a funny old day. Packed with good stuff - for instance, we baptised a young man in the evening and another young disciple spoke in tongues for the first time that same evening and seemed very touched. And yet, and yet... I found my heart heavy at various times.

Why? Because I'm looking for disciples. And for all that I do genuinely love to see the good things happening in various ones, there are few who seem ready to really embrace fully the challenge of living all-out as a disciple.

A wise brother and 'father' among us pointed out recently that we need to be able to call people to 'imitate us as we imitate Christ' just as Paul did. Which is a challenge: if they were to imitate me, what weaknesses would they inherit along with my strengths?

Nevertheless (and you can harangue me for saying this if you think it sounds horribly conceited) I reckon that if the people around me, in my household and church, did imitate me it would be a stronger household and church than it is now. The quest for disciples, I realise, is a quest for sons (and daughters): that is, for those who have inherited the same heart, the same passions, the same spiritual DNA that I have. I find myself praying that God will send people who will come to love Jesus and the vision of our Church as much as (or more than) I do.

Because otherwise it all starts to feel a bit like pushing boulders uphill (you know, there's something about a boulder that would much rather roll down the hill; but put your back into it and really strain and you might just get it to the top - but don't let go or... it's back at the bottom of the hill again!)

Don't get me wrong. Making disciples is about patience and people take time to work things through (particularly hurting youngsters from mixed-up backgrounds). I know this. (Please don't all leave comments reminding me.) But I'm still going to ask God for disciples who want to learn, who want to give - and, yes, who want to imitate me as I imitate Him.


anna said...

good entry... i think i need to be more concious of imitating Jesus. Help me will you? love

tschaka said...

You're not conceited. Well... nah :) You're a man after God's heart! And I want to be like you.

Anonymous said...


I agree with Tschaka that you are a man after God's heart BUT (there is always a but) I'm going to have to harangue you too.

If all in the household were to imitate you those weaknesses would be magnified. The reason community works, when it works (and there failures out there), is because there is the right mix and blend of different people. Each with their strength in giftings, covering the weaknesess of others (and ideally helping them in strengthening those weknesses).

If you talking in a purely spiritual sense and excluding the practical, then yes I agree that you're spiritually stronger than the average of the community household member. You clearly have a vision and ambition for community and building the church and have answered your calling.

However I don't believe that imitation is the solution, its an over simplification. If all were to imitate you but didn't have the calling it would not be in the spirit and would be unsuccessful after much difficulty.

Everyone is an individual and everyone learns and grows at their own pace according to their abilities and limitations and free will, should they decide to.

These things take time and patience is needed to temper that vision and ambition.

For the record I wouldn't call you conceited. Etheusiastic, ambitious, and eager yes but not conceited.


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